HARD RACING DEMANDS TOUGH COATINGS
APTEC LEADS THE
WAY WITH RACE PROVEN COATING TECHNOLOGIES
If you race then winning is everything. It doesn't
matter if you're racing Dirt Bikes, Snowmobiles or NASCAR;
you still want the best technology and equipment.
This is especially true when it comes down to
what drives you forward. THE ENGINE.
You want lower weight, more power and longer
life from all the components that make this power plant up.
You also need to know that certain costly parts can be repaired
back into service with all the performance benefits you need.
Core materials are crucial for engine blocks,
cylinders and pistons. They need to be structurally sound
to withstand the rigors of high-speed racing but very often
their output performance is governed by the conditions found
only on the surface of their working areas.
Mechanical finishing (grinding/honing/super-finishing)
generally creates these surface-operating conditions. These
are then enhanced by surface engineering technologies, which
provide optimum wear resistance, low friction, oil retention
and corrosion resistance.
History of Apticote Ceramic
During the 1960's and 1970's, cast and pressure
die cast aluminum alloys became the favored materials for
engine cylinder construction. Aluminum gave a significant
improvement in power to weight performance, was easy to produce
in large volumes and had good heat dissipation characteristics.
However, aluminum is soft, it wears and galls in sliding contact
against most materials and does not retain an oil film. These
problems were partially overcome by lining aluminum cylinder
bores with cast iron sleeves. This technology had its merits
and is still used today in some applications. However, such
cylinders have a limited working life and are very poor in
terms of fuel consumption, engine emissions or power output.
A refinement to this technology was to replace
cast iron liners with electroplated hard chromium directly
onto the cylinder bore. This gives good results in reducing
overall weight, allowing piston to cylinder bore clearance
to be reduced and increasing the working life of the engine.
However, the quest for ever improved performance, reduced
fuel consumption, longer life and lower emissions has resulted
in higher engine speeds and load cycles. It was found that
piston ring sliding speeds encountered above 8000/9000-rpm
result in hard chromium being unable to consistently retain
an oil film. Consequently, such cylinders wear very quickly.
The latest technology developed to overcome this problem is
a new coating system based on a nickel composite loaded with
small particles of ceramic. Such coatings give outstanding
oil retention characteristics even at engine speeds as high
as 22,000 rpm combined with exceptional wear resistance.
Race engine designers have continued to strive for
greater engine performance and require coatings that will adhere
to new engine block / liner materials and withstand the rigors
of engine / piston combinations running at up to 22,000 rpm. In
response to this demand, the Poeton group have completed an intensive
research program named Apticote Ceramic 2000 aimed at defining
the ultimate composite coating parameters necessary to optimize
The major objective of this program was to develop
a complete understanding of the process chemistry, deposit
characteristics and post finishing parameters. Only then could
we ensure continuous quality and performance integrity of
all coated blocks, liners and cylinders used in race environments.
Development of Apticote Ceramic
The outcome of this research program is a coating
technology process system called Apticote Ceramic 2000. This bore
coating system has been recognized as a championship winning formulation.
It is now used in most forms of high performance motor sport including
F1 Grand Prix, Indy Car and NASCAR. This coating system is continually
monitored through both extensive laboratory testing and customer
feed back to ensure that it can support the ever-changing performance
The Apticote Ceramic 2000 coating process is used
by Aptec Motorsport. to coat both new and repaired 2 and
4 stroke engine cylinders, liners and is also applied to a wide
range of engine blocks.
A major advantage in using Apticote Ceramic 2000
coating technology for treating aluminum engine cylinders is the
ability to rework damaged components. Piston or ring failure while
the engine is operating often results in severe damage to the
cylinder. The Apticote Ceramic 2000 process offered by Aptec Motorsport
can remove the existing coating, weld repair the damaged cylinder,
recoat and finish hone to precisely match the new replacement
The oil retention characteristics of
Apticote Ceramic 2000 have been fully tested for engines running
up to 18,000 rpm.
Optimum Specification for Apticote
Post honing coating thickness
75 - 100 um (Microns)
Average Ceramic particle size
550 - 600 Hv minimum
Co-efficient of Friction
0.22 Cal / Cm2ºC
This process control combined with
continual destructive and non-destructive testing combined with
customer feedback provides for greater confidence in the field
and a reduced risk of failure.
Wear characteristics of Apticote
Ceramic 2000 coatings
In addition to the detailed investigation
of all chemical aspects of cylinder processing, examination
of the tribological properties of nickel/ceramic coatings has
been completed. Using our in-house wear facilities, friction
and wear characteristics of such coatings with a range of hardness's
and compositions was determined against common piston ring materials.
The data generated show a minimum coating hardness, below which,
severe wear can occur. A similar result is obtained for the
level of ceramic inclusion required for the coating. Using this
result, we have specified minimum requirements for hardness
and inclusion rate for all Ceramic 2000 bore coatings that are
above this critical level.
Repair Procedure for Worn / Damage
Cylinders using Apticote Ceramic 2000
Repair of damage is generally confined
to 2/4 Stroke Cylinders rather than Liners and parent metal
engine blocks. The most common repair steps used are as follows:
Remove the existing coating.
Weld any damage.
Bore out the weld to produce
a clean bore surface.
Apply Apticote Ceramic 2000.
Precision Diamond Hone to required
Cylinders are repaired either back
to stock size or to an 'Overbore' size.
With any engine bore coating system,
the deposit will only provide optimum performance when combined
with the correct surface finish. Therefore, Aptec Motorsport. working
closely with one of Europe's leading performance engine honing
specialists were able to produce the optimum surface finish to
match the optimum Apticote Ceramic 2000 deposit characteristics.
To transfer this development work into the production environment,
Aptec Motorsport. has invested heavily in a unique honing system,
which allows for the production of finished bores with the optimum
surface finish to unparalleled roundness and straightness even
across port bridges.
- TESTED TO THE LIMIT, RACED TO THE MAX